[V8] Re: steel brake lines....

Roger M. Woodbury rmwoodbury at downeast.net
Tue May 10 07:34:16 EDT 2005

The question of whether or not to use stainless steel brake lines comes up
from time to time on a lot of these lists.  A similar thread has just ended
on the Porsche 928 list.  The conclusion from some "hard core" racer
types...those with track prepared and track use only 928s...was that
stainless lines were fine for track use but served no purpose on the street.
In point of fact, the comments mostly indicated that stainless lines needed
replacement before every race season, which would seem to make them
undesirable for a street car, needing to have brake lines service the car
for fifty or sixty thousand miles.  

I mostly don't pay a lot of attention to the topic of brake lines, higher
rate shock absorbers, specialty springs and neat, gizzie wheels.  For my
next V8, the only real modification that I will be at all interested in will
be bigger brakes and sixteen inch wheels, IF the wheels are even necessary.
The reason is that the majority of my driving involves relatively rough, two
lane rural roads, and with big wheels and very low profile tires, it would
be a race to see whether the driving conditions killed the car first, or me.

After thorough testing of the brake theory with my soon to be daily driver
200 20Valve Avant, I might even consider keeping the next V8 with stock
wheels size, and UFO brakes, assuming that I can find all the parts to make
the conversion when that time rolls around.  My Avant had practically new
UFOs that were put on by the PO, and that was a chief attraction, as I had
never had a car with UFOs before.  I think that UFO failure is chiefly due
to the nature of US urban driving conditions, which are different than when
Audi decided to use UFOs in certain of their high speed cars.  

My theory is that the kind of driving that I normally do is more like what
Audi had envisioned when they produced cars with UFOs.  The only real basis
for this theory, in case you are wondering if I have been smoking something
funny, is that in 1985 when my wife-at-the-time and I bought a new 5000 S
Avant for her use, we went through a set of rotors in about 15,000 miles.
Audi replaced the rotors under warranty, and did so again at 30,000 miles.
The explanation was that the car's rotors were intended for high speed
highway use, and the predominantly intown use of the car was eating brake
rotors and pads.  Those rotors weren't UFOs, but seem to indicate what Audi
may have thought was "proper" use of their vehicle.  

As far as brake lines are concerned, it is my experience that anytime after
about fifty thousand miles, all the brake lines, rubber suspension bushings,
drive shaft bushings and bearings are all subject to replacement, and
certainly by 100,000 miles they are all used up.  I have only had one or two
brake lines actually fail in my driving experience, but one thing seems
certain:  a brake line will ALWAYS fail due to age and deterioration at
around oh-dark-thirty when you are thirty five miles from the nearest public
telephone or street light, and where there is NO cell phone service.  It
will also be either raining or snowing very hard.  

It is sort of a rule, I think.


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